By Finbarr Horgan
The Regional Plant Protection Cluster of the Department of Agriculture (DA) in Bukidnon, Mindanao held a farmers’ field day in Colonia, Valencia City on 10 September highlighting environment-friendly pest control methods. Over 90 farmers attended the event where they were introduced to the concepts of ecological engineering, bund agriculture, and pest-natural enemy dynamics.
The farmers then visited the farm of Ms. Josephine Alugboc where over 3 hectares of rice has been set-up with high diversity vegetation (HDV) patches as an environment-friendly pest control method. At the farm, participants had an opportunity to taste pesticide-free vegetables produced on the HDV patches. They also viewed a collection of live specimens of beneficial organisms that are natural enemies of pests that can be found on the farm. The open day was also an important opportunity for researchers to get feedback from rice farmers on ecological engineering as a possible rice pest management method.
The event, a part of a series of open days with Philippine farmers, was organized and facilitated by entomologists from the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and its other partners under a project funded by DA-Bureau of Agricultural Research, the German Ministry of Education, and the Global Rice Science Partnership.
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